Snedeker to make US Ryder Cup debut as rookie

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Love said all the players who didn’t make the team handled the news well.

“It was tough to leave anybody off,” he said. “This is probably the deepest, strongest year of earning points that I have seen. There was a lot of guys that played a lot of really good golf, and you can analyze the number up and down and back and forth. … There’s four great players that we picked that are all playing very well and bring a lot to the team. And it was definitely a tough call for me.”

Indeed, both teams are as stacked as ever.

The eight players who qualified three weeks ago for the U.S. team are Woods, Jason Dufner, Masters champion Bubba Watson, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. They have combined to win 12 times this year, including two majors and a World Golf Championship.

It’s a far cry from last time, when none of the picks by Corey Pavin was playing particularly well.

Never before has the Ryder Cup featured so many of the best players. All 24 players from both teams are among the top 36 in the world; the Ryder Cup will have 13 of the top 15 players.

“To have 24 players of the top 36 is mind-boggling,” Furyk said. “As Davis said, really happy with our team. It’s really strong, but we have our hands full. There’s a strong team on the other side, and we’ll have to play them real tough.”

Europe has won six of the past eight times, but only twice on American soil in the past 20 years.

If some of the picks were a surprise, Love sounded as though this was the group he wanted all along. He had dropped strong hints that Stricker and Furyk, who had qualified for the past 14 U.S. teams (Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup) would be on his side. Turns out he was leaning toward Snedeker and Johnson, too.

“I laid it out early on what I thought we needed, and we stuck with it,” Love said. “I need Jim Furyk. I need Steve Stricker. All of the guys on the team will benefit from those guys being in the team room, being in the locker room. And then you can’t argue with the golf that Brandt and Dustin have been playing.”

Love said his idea for how the team was coming together did not change much from Kiawah Island, the final qualifying event.

“Who we were thinking about didn’t really change much,” he said. “I think it just solidified with Brandt and Dustin, that they really played well under the pressure. They just confirmed what we were thinking. They held up under tough pressure. They played a lot of great golf since the PGA Championship. I think we were just delaying the inevitable, waiting until the last minute to study for the test. I think we were pretty close back at the PGA.”

Furyk is the only player on the U.S. team who has not won this year.

Snedeker and Johnson had a short season to qualify for the team. Snedeker had a rib injury that forced him to miss five tournaments he typically plays, including the U.S. Open.

In his second event back, he tied the course record at Royal Lytham & St. Annes with a 64 to take the 36-hole lead, and wound up tied for third with Woods. After failing to make the team, Snedeker was runner-up at Bethpage Black and sixth at the TPC Boston.

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